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Student companies, startups selected for Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge

February 12, 2014

Finalists in the nation's premier business pitch competition will begin participating in workshops to refine their business plans and increase their chances of winning $250,000 in May.

Kurt Hoeven and Charisse Bowen, co-directors of Blue Ocean Enterprises ChallengeSixteen Collegiate Track and 16 Enterprise Track finalists  have been selected to compete in the nation's premier business pitch competition, the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge. The competition, to be held in May, has  a grand prize package of $250,000 in funding, intensive strategy and operations support, and a 12-month business mentoring program.

The competition’s finalists, selected from more than 120 applicants, represent 22 industry categories and hail from eight states. Eleven student companies from Colorado State were selected; other competitors are from University of Colorado Boulder, University of Denver, and Air Force Academy.

View a complete list of competitors.

The competition is presented by Blue Ocean Enterprises and Colorado State University, with major support from Hewlett-Packard, E-Myth, 1st Bank and the City of Fort Collins.

Collegiate Track competitors will pitch their businesses to a panel of high-profile judges on May 2, and Enterprise Track finalists will compete during the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge, a festival of entrepreneurship-focused events that will take place in Fort Collins on May 23-25.

Innovation and creativity

“The innovation and creativity represented by applicants to the inaugural Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge exceeded our expectations,” said Charisse Bowen, Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business and co-director of the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge. “The finalists exemplify the entrepreneurial passions and game-changing ideas that are driving our growing economy.”

The Collegiate and Enterprise finalists have the opportunity to participate in a series of three educational workshops that will prepare them for the competitions in May. The goal of the workshops is to add significant value to the competitors’ experiences, while refining their business plans and increasing their chances of winning.    

Weekend entrepreneur fest

A weekend of events surrounding the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge is being organized by a partnership of Blue Ocean Enterprises, CSU, and other supporters of business growth in Colorado such as Galvanize, Foundry Group, Rocky Mountain Innosphere, and the City of Fort Collins.

Events taking place during the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge include:

  • Partners Showcase, which will highlight companies from regional incubators and programs across the state, including young business owners from Young Americans Bank and the Larimer County Entrepreneurial Youth Tournament
  • Hewlett-Packard Design Challenge
  • Exhibitors Expo
  • Trolley Pitch Competition
  • Social events and more

Contact: Charisse Bowen